China’s February trade balance data is rather terrible. Trade surplus shrank sharply to USD 4.1B, well below expectation of USD 27.2B. That’s primarily due to steep contraction in exports by -20.7% yoy, largest decline since February 2016. The data could be distorted by the timing of the New Year. But January and February combined, exports still dropped -4.6% yoy while imports dropped -3.1% yoy.

Looking at some January and February combined details, trade with the US continued to deteriorate drastically . Total trade with US dropped -19.9% yoy, exports dropped -14.1% yoy but imports dropped -35.1% yoy. Trade with EU wasn’t too bad, still recorded 3.7% yoy growth in total trade, 2.4% yoy rise in exports and 5.7% rise in imports. One interesting point to note is that imports from Brazil jumped 33.5% yoy while imports from Canada rose 34.9% yoy.

Here are some details.

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In USD terms, in Feb:

  • Total trade dropped -13.8% yoy to USD 266.3B
  • Expects dropped -20.7% yoy to USD 135.2B
  • Imports dropped -5.2% yoy to USD 131.1B
  • Trade surplus was at USD 4.1B

In USD terms, YTD:

  • Total trade dropped -3.9% yoy to USD 662.7B.
  • Exports dropped -4.6% yoy to USD 353.2B
  • Imports dropped -3.1% yoy to USD 309.5B
  • Trade surplus was at USD 43.7B

With US, YTD:

  • Total trade dropped -19.9% yoy to USD 76.5B
  • Exports dropped -14.1% yoy to USD 59.3B.
  • Imports dropped -35.1% yoy to USD 17.2B.
  • Trade surplus was at USD 42.1B

With EU, YTD:

  • Total trade rose 3.7% yoy to USD 107.5B
  • Exports rose 2.4% yoy to USD 64.7B
  • Imports rose 5.8% yoy to USD 42.8B.
  • Trade surplus was at USD 21.9B.

With AU,YTD:

  • Total trade rose 4.6% yoy to USD 24.8B.
  • Exports rose 3.3% yoy to USD 7.0B.
  • Imports rose 5.1% yoy to USD 17.8B.
  • Trade deficit was at USD 10.8B.

Link to Chinese customs data

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